New Year’s Eve

This year, we recreated our long-ago tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve with great appetizers, champagne/beer, and movies.

I made Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese sauce. Phyl made Happy Hour Mushrooms and sausage crescent bites.

Meanwhile, in Bakersfield CA, Carol (Phyl’s sister) and Jerry celebrated with Pete the Possum. (Eek!)

The creamery

Phyl and Dave’s place used to be a dairy farm. There are several outbuildings, this one is called the creamery:
We bundled up and went to see the warren of 7 rooms and 1 large workspace. This is a vast storage area but also where Dave works on various projects.
There are two more large spaces in the attic although it’s a steep climb to get there. Not as scary as Dave made it look:

Deer Lodge

Phyl and Dave live just a mile or so from Deer Lodge, a town of about 3000 people in southwest Montana. Two grocery stores, 3 restaurants, a couple of fast food places, a movie theater (open Fri-Sun and totally staffed by volunteers) and my favorite …

Quilters Corner.


Late on Christmas Day I flew to Missoula and stayed at a nearby hotel. The next morning Dave and Phyl drove over from Deer Lodge and picked me up.
Yes! It’s freaking cold here.

Christmas Eve

Dinner was at the Leah (Lenin’s sister) & Jeff’s and ALL the Del Castillo’s were there plus me and Justin. Presents were piled everywhere!

Jeff made the best-ever prime rib using the sous vide method followed by some smoking and searing on the Egg.

Sorting and distributing the gifts takes quite while. Carson thought every gift tag that started with a C belonged to him which meant he had a huge pile .. for a while.


I told myself not to open the jigsaw puzzle box, but I did. Then I couldn’t leave it alone. I even forgot to eat sometimes (that’s a miracle). Every spare minute, I was looking for a piece to fit in. The minutes became an hour, then an afternoon, then …

four days went by and I was done! 1000 pieces. Then a little panic set in – what Christmas tasks have I ignored and must get done in the next 3 days?

50 years ago today …

.. my brother Doug was killed in a car accident. What a tragic event for my family. Doug had just finished his first football season at the University of Utah and came home for Christmas. The first night home, he went to a basketball tournament with a friend and was killed when a car ran a stop sign and spun Doug’s little sports car into an oncoming car. He was gone. The tragedy was compounded 8 days later when a woman came to the door to tell my parents that her daughter had a baby that night. She claimed Doug was the father. After a lot of fact-gathering and investigation, my parents decided Doug probably wasn’t the father.

This past Thanksgiving, I received this comment (in the profile section of this blog) which needed approval before it could be posted:

My parents were right! And I’m glad Doug Harrison found his true family.